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BEHIND THE SCENES: Brittany Bryant's triple crowning achievement a tribute to dad

GuelphToday reporter Mark Pare takes us behind the scenes

In each “Behind the Scenes” segment, Village Media's Scott Sexsmith sits down with one of our local journalists to talk about the story behind the story.

These interviews are designed to help you better understand how our community-based reporters gather the information that lands in your local news feed. 

Today's spotlight is on GuelphToday's Mark Pare, whose story 'Brittany Bryan't triple crowning achievement a tribute to dad' was published on August 29, 2023.

Here's the original story if you need to catch up:

Billiards has always been a family affair for Brittany Bryant.

Even after sinking the final shot to clinch the first-ever Canadian billiards triple crown in Calgary this month – winning the national 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball tournaments – the thoughts of the 32-year-old Guelph native went right to the man who introduced her to the game.

"The thought that went through my head was really just missing my dad, to be honest with you," she told GuelphToday. "He would've been really proud."

'Papa Jack' Bryant passed away in October, and was instrumental in Brittany's career.

"I went with my dad to the pool room," she said. "I score kept for his team for the longest time, and then I got introduced to a junior program, which was beautiful."

Katherine Deveau, the general manager of Tony's Billiards on Macdonell Street, convinced Brittany to start playing.

Bryant didn't think turning pro was in the cards back then. But after winning her first tournament, she said something clicked.

"I was very successful at the beginning," she said. "That's pretty rare, considering I was a girl in the pool hall and there wasn't a lot of females like me that were playing."

Since then, Bryant has racked the accolades up. She's a two-time junior world billiards champion, and a 19-time Canadian champion.

She's number six on the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) tour in the US this year, and the top-ranked Canadian.

She's made a living with the sport, but Bryant admits it's a grind and a year-long commitment.

"You will be on the road 365 days of the year," she said. "It's not going to be easy, but it can possibly happen."

For her part, Bryant is gone once or twice a month, competing now on a reduced schedule and supplementing her income as a server in her new home in Georgetown.

"I've switched myself over … just because I'm going to be looking into the future and wanting a family and doing different things with my life," she said. "It's pretty good, I'm able to pay for the next one, should I say."

Her most recent wins have allowed Bryant to be selected to represent Canada at the world championships in Austria in October.

And while she chases her first world title, Bryant's home hall is feeling the ripple of her historic win in Calgary.

Deveau was inspired by the triple crown win, and decided to revive women's tournaments at Tony's.

"In the past, I've done them, the most I've gotten is maybe 12 ladies come out," Deveau said.

"In 24 hours, I had 44 ladies sign up. And that's because of (Bryant)."

The hall also hosted a memorial tournament for Jack Bryant last month, which attracted 96 players. It raised over $10,000, and all the money is going to support "future junior national champions."

"My family and I have put a lot into this game, and into my career, to be successful and be a good ambassador," Bryant said. "My father was such a proud man of me, so to give him this, since he's passed, is a huge accomplishment. 

"These kids are going to go and compete for their country, and not have to worry as much financially. If I can be a part of that in any way, it's beautiful."

It's the financial break she hopes springboards local juniors to new heights.

The same heights Bryant didn't think were possible when she started playing at 13-years-old.

And while she puts in efforts to grow the game, Bryant continues to put in work as a household name on the Canadian billiards scene, one shot at a time.